Man Sentenced to Prison for Smuggling Cocaine in Cheese Wheels


ALPINE, TX - An Odessa man, Aaron Balderrama, aged 23, has been sentenced to 37 months in federal prison for smuggling cocaine into the United States via the Presidio Port of Entry, according to the U.S. Attorney of the Western District Court of Texas.

Balderrama was convicted by the federal court in Pecos for his involvement in importing cocaine concealed within cheese. Court documents revealed that on July 20, Balderrama informed U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers at the border that he was carrying "a couple bags of cheese" in his vehicle while attempting to cross from Mexico into the United States.

Upon inspection of Balderrama's vehicle, officers discovered four wheels of cheese. Suspecting illicit activity, they conducted a secondary inspection, revealing that these cheese wheels contained seven bundles of a substance that subsequent tests confirmed to be cocaine.

In response to this discovery, U.S. Attorney Jaime Esparza emphasized the continuous efforts to thwart drug trafficking attempts. Esparza commended the vigilance of port of entry partners, stating, "Drug traffickers regularly try to disguise their product and sneak illicit substances past our proven safeguards and trained agents. Thanks to the keen eye and awareness of our port of entry partners, we continue to prevent drugs like this from infiltrating our communities and prosecute those who challenge us."

The sentencing of Aaron Balderrama to 37 months in federal prison marks the outcome of his involvement in smuggling cocaine disguised within cheese through the Presidio Port of Entry. This incident highlights the ongoing efforts of law enforcement agencies and port authorities to detect and prevent drug trafficking across borders, emphasizing the crucial role of vigilant officers in safeguarding communities against illegal narcotics

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